In fragile states, stabilization not synonymous with military action

Two F-15E fighters that conducted airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria fly over northern Iraq. Stabilization in conflict-affected states does not have to be entwined with military involvement. Photo by: Matthew Bruch / U.S. Air Force

The stabilization of conflict-affected areas often connotes “military action.” But it shouldn’t, development experts say. The global aid community should play a larger role in shaping international engagement in places from Iraq to Syria and beyond.

U.S. President Barack Obama recently announced a strategy to counter the Islamic State group with plans that depend on new military units in Iraq and a yet-to-be developed Syrian opposition force. But countering the group will need to be accompanied by broader, lasting change in Iraq and Syria, which means better governance, stronger civil society and more political inclusivity — and elevating these goals over narrower national interests.

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About the author

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    Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Bangkok, she covers disaster and crisis response, innovation, women’s rights, and development trends throughout Asia. Prior to her current post, she covered leadership, careers, and the USAID implementer community from Washington, D.C. Previously, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.